Richmond Falcon Cam

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Richmond Update

Since the last update both of the remaining eggs have been lost. By about 5:30pm yesterday the 3rd egg had been removed from the nest by the falcons. The fourth remained and appeared to have pipped. The female settled down to incubate the egg overnight and we were hopeful that the remaining egg might still be viable.

As of about 6:15 am this morning the fourth egg had also been removed. We are unsure what may have led to the failure of this clutch. There are many plausible causes and we simply don't have enough information at this point to speculate. This morning eggshell fragments and a sample of the gravel from the scrape were retrieved for lab analysis.

We will continue to monitor and evaluate the nest site. There is still the possibility that the falcons will have second brood. We will update you as information becomes available.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Eyases in Richmond

We are aware of the unfortunate happening at the nest in Richmond. At this point it appears that we lost two of our young birds. One was noted dead this morning and a second egg appeared to be hatching. This second egg was then carried off by the female.

As of this posting it appears that a third egg is in the process of hatching.

At this point we are unsure of what exactly has happened. We do not wish to engage in speculation, any number of scenarios are possible. We are consulting with our project partners and will post further updates as soon as we are able.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hatched!

At least one of the eggs has hatched and second has pipped. The 1st egg hatched at about 6:30pm, and a good sized hole was seen in a second egg at 8:05pm. Pipping is the process by which the chick begins to pecks a hole in the egg. By tomorrow morning we should have at least two falcon chicks, called eyases. The female is keeping both the new hatcling and the remianing eggs well protected. Note the empty eggshell in this photo!

Any Day Now

We continue to watch and wait for the first hatching. The female seems to be a bit fidgety over the last day or so, checking and rearranging the eggs frequently. Our initial estimate of April 21st for a hatch date was obviously a bit early. Incubation of this clutch began later in the hatching cycle, resulting in a later hatch date.

We are monitoring the camera regularly and will post any updates as quickly as possible

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Watching & Waiting

Those who liked to peek in on the falcons at night were long able to take advantage of the buildings lighting to keep an eye on the birds. A problem with the lighting has darkened the ledge at night. We can see a flickering bulb on camera, but at this critical stage we are unable to do any maintenance on the ledge.

We have a further difficulty in the early morning when strong light from the rising sun illuminates every smudge and scratch in the camera dome, confusing the autofocus feature of the camera which confuses this glare with a close object. A camera operator is not always available to correct this issue but we are trying to ensure that we refocus the camera as quickly as possible.

We are drawing close to hatching for our eggs! Falcon incubation averages about 33 days. Calculating the date of the first hatching can be tricky however as the birds don't really start to incubate in earnest until the second egg is laid (even later if the weather is quite warm). The purpose of this is to minimize the size difference between siblings, preventing the youngest from being at too great a competitive disadvantage.

The falcon egg prognosticator calculates that the 1st egg will hatch on April 21st or 22nd, this is approximately 35 days from the date the egg was laid.